Hybrid events are becoming more and more prevalent in society. About 25% to 35% of workers are still working from home, and many are still communicating exclusively over digital means. Making accommodations for this is important.
Whether you’re hosting an event for 50 or 10,000 people, there are strategies that can be used to increase the excitement of all hybrid events.
But how can you make a hybrid event engaging? Right now, we’re looking at five unique hybrid event ideas that are sure to drive up engagement.
One of the most difficult things to manage during a hybrid event is communication. Your in-person attendees can easily talk with each other, but your online attendees may be left out of the loop. Bridging this gap is essential.
That is why it is so important to emphasize digital features that allow conversations to occur between all hybrid event attendees. An interactive chat feature can help with this.
Most common digital meeting programs have a chat feature. This allows everyone online to type in responses and make comments on anything taking place in the event. If the program you are using does not have this feature, look into adding another program like Bizzabo to allow this.
Then, make sure all of your attendees know about the chat. Tell them it will be there and encourage them to participate in the conversation.
Your online audience is already incentivized to interact in this chat, as it is one of the key ways they can interact with the rest of the group. However, your in-person audience may not participate as much and may not even be watching what the chat is saying.
This is where having a chat moderator can be important. A chat moderator is a person assigned to watch the chat as your event plays out. They can be instrumental in making sure the digital group connects with the in-person group.
For example, if your event has a speaker who is giving a presentation, a virtual attendee may have a question. However, the speaker may not be watching the chat. In this case, the chat moderator will notice the question and can then ensure the speaker knows to answer it.
Similar to an interactive chat, polls and quizzes are a way for the group to check-in. They can reflect on what is taking place or simply show that attendees are paying attention.
They are also something that both your online and in-person attendees can do together. Your online attendees can answer the poll from their computers, while your in-person attendees can answer it from their phones.
You can even simplify the process for everyone. Sending out links beforehand or through a chat can help your online attendees. Meanwhile, you can create QR codes for your in-person attendees that will link them to the polls or quizzes.
Conducting polls throughout your event can be a tremendous way to ask your audience how the event is going.
The questions you ask can be simple points of clarification. You can ask if anyone needs a speaker to slow down or if anyone needs something repeated. This lets you know if the event needs to respond to any problems.
Or your questions can be more detailed. You can ask if the group agrees or disagrees with a point a speaker is making or which activity they would prefer to do next. This introduces some critical thinking into the mix.
Your questions can also just be fun. A poll about favorite pizza toppings gives everyone a mental break while also serving as a hint about what you should serve at your next event.
Though similar in some ways, quizzes are different from polls. While a poll typically asks questions rooted in opinion, quizzes are more focused on facts.
In this way, quizzes are a way to make sure that your attendees are paying attention. You can ask questions about what just occurred or about a point that was just explained.
For example, if you are discussing important company policies at your event, you want to make sure everyone understands what you are saying. So, you can add a quiz at various points throughout in order to see who is paying attention and who is not.
Quizzes also help make sure that your message is coming across clearly. Your attendees may be paying very close attention, but the presentation may be confusing. Quizzes help discover this discrepancy.
For example, you may ask everyone in a poll if they understand what is going on, and everyone will respond “yes.” Then, you might find out that some people didn’t understand. A quiz will determine this while the event is still taking place, which allows you to fix the issue.
Most people are familiar with photo booths. They have been around since the 1800s and have recently become very popular at weddings and other events.
At events, the appeal of a photo booth is that everyone can take a goofy picture. Then, they get to keep their picture while also seeing the pictures everyone else took. It establishes some group unity while also being just plain fun.
While most people think of a physical photo booth when they think of a photo booth, new technology has made the same experience possible through the internet. This technology connects both digital and in-person attendees.
Your attendees can easily load up the virtual photo booth on their phones. Then, they can use a variety of backgrounds, frames, and stickers to create a fun picture of themself.
These pictures then form a live web gallery that allows everyone to view all the pictures taken during the event. After the event, these pictures can then form a scrapbook or even a branded mosaic.
Plus, some virtual photo booths allow your attendees to record videos as well. This can provide you with honest reactions to the event as a whole. They also add a new dimension to the media sharing experience.
The best part about a virtual photo booth is that it can be enjoyed by everyone. Users at home can see all of the pictures just as easily as those who are at the event. This feature makes it a great choice for both virtual and in-person events.
Hands-on materials are a great way to add another level of engagement to any event. You can have attendees perform a simple science experiment or try delicious foods and drinks. This allows them to engage with something physical, which instantly grabs their attention.
With many hybrid events, the people attending the event in-person have access to these hands-on materials while everyone attending digitally does not. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. With proper planning, everyone can have access to the same experience!
In these cases, you need to know exactly who is attending your event. Then, you need to send all your virtual attendees the material they need. After this, you simply need to provide your in-person attendees with the same materials.
Once this is done, your event can proceed as normal. When you reach the point where the materials are needed, you simply need to make sure whoever is hosting does a good job at explaining exactly what to do.
This type of interactivity is becoming more popular with the rise of hybrid events. Now, events like wine and cheese tastings can be held from someone’s home just as easily as they can at a winery or fancy restaurant.
The fifth item on this list is really something that can be integrated into nearly everything else on the list. Everyone likes getting prizes. So, they can be a fun and unique way to keep everyone engaged.
While hosting a hybrid event, you can give out prizes for any number of things. The person who participates most in the chat, the person who scores best on quizzes, or the person with the best event-themed picture could all be options.
The great thing about prizes is that they drive up engagement in any way you want. If you offer a prize for participation in the chat, then you can expect far more conversations to take place than they would otherwise. However, the exact activity you drive up can be based on the activity that matters to you the most.
Prizes also can come in many different forms. Traditional prizes will include some sort of gift, with a gift card being the most standard option. You can announce the winner of these prizes during the event and, if the winner is attending virtually, simply send them the prize afterward.
However, digital prizes can be just as desirable yet cost nothing. If your chat program allows it, you could offer your attendees a personalized emoji to use at future events. This can cost almost nothing but can still drive engagement.
Hybrid events present a unique mix of challenges when it comes to engagement. However, if you take advantage of unique opportunities, you can make your next hybrid event a more positive experience. This helps both you and your attendees.
If you are interested in a virtual photo booth, make sure to contact OutSnapped to see how they can help at your event.